Seems Like Such a Simple Problem

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Divadavid, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Divadavid

    Divadavid Active Member

    But it's wracking my brain...
    I'm music conducting a musical called Next To Normal (great score, by the way) and I have a violin part that calls for doubling on a synthesizer. I found all the patches that the score calls for on a Roland Fantom XR. I've got the rack mounted equipment set up to be triggered by a M-Audio Ozone keyboard. Very simple.

    My issue is this: how to quickly and simply make program changes in the Fantom so that my "non synthesizer savvy" violinist can handle it without pushing a bunch of teeny tiny buttons on the rack mounted synth.

    The Fantom has midi in out and thru connections as well as a USB port. Part of my confusion is that the midi in connection needs to be reserved for the keyboard to trigger the unit. I have a Mac laptop i could use in the set up and also an iPad or iPod Touch which could be used.

    Maybe the solution lies in a different master with programmable buttons to send the midi patch changes directly.

    Anybody done this who can give me some advice?

    I'm about to go as crazy as the main character in this musical.
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    I don't know how easily the Ozone can change MIDI channels. But when I used use what might be the world's most cumbersome keyboard (old-school floppy disk based Ensoniq Mirage) to control several Roland, Yamaha, and Emu MIDI modules I made use of the MIDI channels, because that's one thing that keyboard could do instantly. To make big patch changes quickly and relatively easily - I would layer the necessary sounds together in multi-timbral patches in a combination of modules, assigning each sound to their own MIDI channel. With each module responding to the correct channel(s) or ignoring them as needed.

    So for example my combination of multi-timbral patches would have my Acoustic Piano sound respond to MIDI Ch1, El. Piano on Ch2, Clav on Ch3, Strings Ch4, Horns Ch5, Synth Ch6, and so on up to Ch16. Like a lot of guys I was most interested in the basic keyboard sounds [Piano, Wurlitzer, Clav, and B3] - so one 'patch' in each of the combined modules could provide me with the whole night's worth of sounds, or at least a whole set, without any slow patch changes. Some sounds utilized just one module, some triggered several modules at once - it's all in the programming.

    That approach may or may not be of any use to you with the Ozone, I'm not familiar with it beyond what I've just looked up. The Fantom should be supremely capable of multi-timbral patches.

    A MIDI mapable foot-controller, like many guitar players would have used to control effects units may also be an option for program changes.

    (I hope all that makes sense)

    Good luck!
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    For most musicals, you have midi "scenes" which you change by pedal or hot key. Wicked, Phantom et alia use this setup with a reduced pit. Usually there is a library to download and a help file.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
  4. Divadavid

    Divadavid Active Member

    TO DVDHAWK:Thanks! Yes that does make sense. I'll give it a try today.

    TO THE JACKATTACK: I contacted MTI when I first got this gig (about a month ago) and was told that the sound patches for Next To Normal were not available...presumably because it's such a new offering. (We're the first company in Northern California to do this show.) But thanks for the reminder, I'll call them again this week. Maybe things have changed.

  5. Divadavid

    Divadavid Active Member

    Thanks for the reminder. I called MTI when I first got this gig (about a month ago) and was told that the "Keyboard Patch Solutions" (as they call them) for Next To Normal was not yet available. I'll call again this week and see if the story has changed any.
  6. Paul999

    Paul999 Active Member

    I am old fashioned and trust midi as much as I trust....... well......all my metaphors are not PG-13. For anything like this I record a CD. I make each backing track of the stereo song or if I need a click mono. One side is the click the other is the music. It may be a little old fashioned but itunes is pretty reliable and so are CD's. I've never seen CD players, a laptop and ipod go down at the same time but I've seen many a midi rig panic the heck out of its caregiver. I'd record your stuff into garageband. If I need super reliability, multiple tracks, instant playback from a foot switch or remote control I use an ADAT HD.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Well, I don't trust MIDI much personally either but it is quite stable once hooked up and it is in fact the standard of touring musicals and even some 20th C. operas. The biggest problem for MIDI beginners is not putting in to in or out to out. Also, I HATED setting midi up on Win98 and even a lot of XP machines. Some of that was because I don't personally use MIDI and some was the cumbersome hardware that was available at the time. Chris on the other hand made is bread and butter by MIDI and wouldn't think twice about the setup as it is second nature to him.

    In actuality, it would be very difficult to do most musicals written since 1990 without a midi controller and scene (sound scenes) changed via footswitch even as the conductor/keyboardist.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    yup, I love MIDI and it has been incredibly stable for me. I never lost a show in 18 years, 46 weeks a year, 6 nights a week from a midi lock or dropout. Nope, can't recall once. As my rig advanced I was running lights and loading data on the fly all the time. Midi ran 6 velocity sensitive keyboards, detailed drums, tempo changes, guitar processors, reverbs and delays all flawlessly.
    To add... Even when it was all synced up, we used an addition keyboard for live. You could hit record anytime you wanted on the fly and it locked into the entire system without a hiccup. Before I sold my G16, I used SMPTE to even keep the 16 track in sync with my entire MIDI rig.

    Power failures yup, and from goofing around during programming trying to max out the voices, or feeding mass amounts a notes to purposely see how far I could push it all is about the only time I recall crashing.
    I never new what latency was until I started using VSTi crap. The VSTi crowd doesn't know what they missed when it was all cream back then. MIDI is very stable but some MIDI gear or bad power may not be.
    Like John says, midi loops , bad cabling and incorrect routing are the only problems that cause issues (or hold you BACK).
    MIDI is still superior to vsti in many ways but I'm sure when they get it right, it will be awesome. MIDI just seemed to work from the get go where VSTi is really effected by so many things.

    Now that you heard that,

    To the OP:

    This is easy. Without thinking to deep, the logical solution is a router. 2 ins 2 outs. USB is plagued with latency and conflicts so I don't recommend that.
    I use an old MTP AV with 8 MIDI ins 8 outs. Its outdated but it works awesome. I can have multiple MIDI products acting as master controllers all going into a main system that can control my DAW as well. Look for a MIDI Router and you are gold.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Reading the entire thread, DVDHawk suggestion on a MIDI foot controller is the ticket. This is very easy to make this all work. You just need to understand MIDI Channels.

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